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A new retrospective brings Barbie Army back to the front lines - Chicago Reader

A new retrospective brings Barbie Army back to the front lines - Chicago Reader

By Jen Larson --

If it weren’t for YouTube algorithms, the music of Barbie Army might’ve vanished like dust in the wind. Like so many underground garage-rock bands, this Chicago group played live constantly but didn’t pay as much attention to releasing recordings—during their lifetime, from 1986 till 1991, they put out one self-titled, self-released seven-inch and a few DIY cassettes that they dubbed by hand to sell at gigs and by mail. Barbie Army could attract crowds, but they had a hard time building momentum. When they broke up, they were still undetected by the masses, even in Chicago.

Thankfully, the Internet has a way of remembering things for us. And because someone uploaded some of Barbie Army’s music to YouTube in the mid-2010s, Berlin-based label No Plan is releasing a collection of recordings made more than 30 years ago by a group nearly 5,000 miles away. Barbies Don’t Bleed: Retrospective 1986-1990, which the label says contains the band’s “whole discography,” comes out on April 1. In May, members of Barbie Army will reunite to celebrate the new record with a show at one of their old haunts, Phyllis’ Musical Inn.

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